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District of Columbia Wills Laws

Since we can't take it with us when we die, wills allow the testator (the person to whom the estate applies) to designate his or her belongings to friends, family members, loved ones, and others (including organizations). State laws on wills establish guidelines for what constitutes a valid will and other rules. For example, many states do not recognize handwritten (holographic) or oral (nuncupative) wills at all, but some states will allow them under limited circumstances.

Wills Law in Washington, D.C.: Overview

According to District of Columbia statute, a valid will is one that is written and signed by someone at least 18 years old who is "of sound and disposing mind," and which is signed by two credible witnesses. Oral wills are not valid unless they are made by a military service member or mariner at sea.

Additional details of Washington D.C.'s laws concerning wills are listed below. See FindLaw's Making a Will section for additional articles.

Code Section 18-102, et seq.
Age of Testator 18 years or older and of sound and disposing mind and capable of executing a valid deed or contract
Number of Witnesses Attested and subscribed in presence of testator by two credible witnesses.
Nuncupative (Oral Wills) Oral will made after 1/1/1902 is not valid except that person in actual military or naval service or mariner at sea may create oral will if (a) oral will is proved by at least 2 individuals present at the making and were requested by the testator to bear witness that oral disposition was the last will and (b) will made during time of last illness of deceased and (c) substance of will reduced to writing 10 days after it was made
Holographic Wills Attested and subscribed in the presence of testator by 2 witnesses, although they need not sign in each other's presence or physically observe each other's signature.

Note: State laws are always subject to change at any time, through the enactment of new legislation and in other ways. We strive to ensure the accuracy of these pages, but you also may want to contact a District of Columbia estate planning attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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District of Columbia Will Laws: Related Resources

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